Finalising France Itinerary

Old Oct 26th, 2015, 11:42 PM
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Finalising France Itinerary

Hello

I've posted previously and received much help (although we have since deviated somewhat) which was appreciated. I was hoping that I could ask for help once more with finalising our month-long France itinerary which looks like this:

3 nights Paris (then train to Aix-en-Provence, pick up hire car and then drive to Bargemon)
4 nights Bargemon
1 week Antibes
1 week Bonnieux
****8 nights – undecided ??
1 night Paris
Fly Home

We are stuck on where to spend our final week/8 days.

We are two adults and two children (3yo and 6yo).

We will be in Bonnieux and will eventually need to be in Paris to fly home. We have 8 days to play with. We will have a hire car but for ease of travel would be willing to relinquish car to take the train, and then pick up another hire car.

Splitting the 8 days between two locations is also a possibility.

As we will be spending so much of our trip already in Provence, we are keen to explore an area with different architecture/landscape.

We are hoping to avoid places/regions we have visited previously:
- Around Loches (Loire) – loved!
- St Emilion (Bordeaux) – loved!
- Carcasson – did not enjoy (too touristy)
- Beaune (Burgundy) – loved!
- Champagne region – mostly enjoyed.
- Luberon (we are returning to as we loved it so much)

Also, for a few reasons we are not keen to visit the west-coast.

We don’t have any out of the ordinary interests. We do enjoy wine, walking/biking, boat trips, (we are quite active, well as active as those travelling with young children can be). Mostly we like driving around and exploring towns/soaking up atmosphere. Museums/galleries are not of importance at this stage due to travelling with young children. Interesting towns/landscape is what we are looking for (pretty general I know).

If anyone, based on the information above, has any areas/regions they could recommend (or any other guidance) it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
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Old Oct 26th, 2015, 11:51 PM
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The Dordogne is a possibility. Take a two day drive via the Gorges du Tarn from the Provence rather than using the autoroute.
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Old Oct 27th, 2015, 12:14 AM
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Have you considered heading up through the Jura to the Vosges and then Alsace Lorraine?
You could perhaps visit the source of the Mosel (or the Meuse) and follow it for a while.
Lots of wine and cycling plus pretty villages, lakes, storms, beautiful countryside.
You could then drop the car in Strasbourg and take the TGV to Paris.
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Old Oct 27th, 2015, 01:59 AM
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hetismij is exactly where I would have been,

the Jura and the river Doubs is a lovely area, with some grand walkiing, while the wine is a little odd but perfectly respectable.

Alsace is just wonderful.

The source of the Moselle (nice little hotel BTW next door) is a little dull in the way that the valleys on the west of the Vosges can be, but still fine walking on the valley bottoms with the top of the Vosges having some fine views a again good walking (I never go near the Balon d'Alsace without visiting it and looking for Mont Blanc)

The Mosel, as it crosses into Germany the darn thing changes its name, from Trier to the Rhine has good train support and fine walking both in the valley bottoms and along the ridges (the north side is better for me) and yes I know this is Germany but in Europe the borders are far more meh than guide books believe.

Alsace and Mosel have the strongest biking ethic and ease of Rental (Mosel the easiest of all) but only Mosel has loads of train stations (for the tired cyclist).

Moselle upper has no local wine production, everything else does, but nowhere is more than a hill range away from a vine.
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Old Oct 27th, 2015, 08:14 AM
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Along with Provence, the Dordogne is our favorite region in France. I think the kids would love all the castles, caves, rivers, & villages. Do what Michael suggested - go via the Gordes du Tarn. We stayed in the Gorges for 2 weeks this year & loved it.

So - for 8 nights:
- 2 nights in the Gorges du Tarn
- 2 nights near Rocamadour - visiting Pech Merle, St Cirq Lapopie, Cele River, and Figeac on the way there. Next day visit Gouffre de Padirac, Rocamadour (early in the AM or late in the afternoon to avoid the hordes), Carennac, Autoire, and Loubressac.

- 4 nights in the Dordogne. Visit Martel on the way there. Last day, drive toward Brive la Gaillarde, visit Collonges la Rouge on the way there, dump the car in Brive, and take the train to Paris.

I have a 32 page itinerary for Provence, a 30+ pager for the Languedoc with a heave emphasis on the Gorges du Tarn, and a 20+ page one for the Dordogne. If you would like a copy of these, e-mail me at [email protected] & I'll attach them to the reply e-mail.

Stu Dudley
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Old Oct 27th, 2015, 08:42 AM
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Given your itinerary and desire to avoid places you've already been, Alsace would seem the obvious place for the last week.
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Old Oct 27th, 2015, 03:34 PM
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Have you considered the L'Herault region. We spent two weeks there last year [ click on my name and you will get my trip report - on the road again ]and enjoyed it. We stayed near Clermont l'Herault and found it a good base. Pezenas is popular. You could visit the millau viaduct , there are caves, lots of Plus Beaux villages. I think the children would enjoy a walk and climb in the Cirque de Moureze. Lots of good wine. The coast is nearby. You could then take the train from Montpellier back to Paris.

The other suggestions are also great. The Jura is beautiful and the Alsace is different and lovely.
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Old Oct 27th, 2015, 05:08 PM
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Have you considered putting all of your time in Paris at the end of your trip, since you need to be there then for your flight out?

And have you considered adding to your time in Paris? You aren't giving it much....

Just asking!
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Old Oct 27th, 2015, 05:35 PM
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Thanks so much for all of the great suggestions. There are some regions/areas mentioned that I don't know much about so I think I will do a bit of reading and see where it leads (I find that part almost as enjoyable as the trip itself).

In regards to Paris, you raise some great points kja however we have to be in Paris for a meeting for work and the best flights in terms of price have us in Paris approx 3 days prior. We have been to Paris three times and I'm much more comfortable away from big cities, especially if I'm having to chase a 3yo around. We've locked in all accommodation now so it's just those 8 days we have to finalise.

Thanks again
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Old Oct 27th, 2015, 05:42 PM
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Oh, now I understand!

With your interests, you might want to check the Lonely Planet and Rough Guide for France (if you haven't already done so) -- IME, they have more comprehensive coverage of active options than most other guidebooks.

Enjoy!
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Old Oct 27th, 2015, 07:02 PM
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How about driving north along the Rhone, then over to the area around Lake Annecy, then up to Alsace then to Paris?
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Old Oct 27th, 2015, 09:47 PM
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How about driving north along the Rhone, then over to the area around Lake Annecy, then up to Alsace then to Paris?

The "route Napoléon" would be more scenic.
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Old Oct 28th, 2015, 10:55 PM
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A drive to Manosque, then on to Annecy via Briancon might suit if you wanted to see a bit of the Alps.
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